Quarles: Nothing Tougher Than Watching
After missing the 2009 season due to an injury, Quarles is back in action, having caught eight passes for 95 yards in Kansas State's 2-0 start, which includes a seven-catch, 82-yard, one-touchdown performance against Missouri State on Saturday. "It's just great to be out there on the battlefield with my teammates and not watching from the sidelines," said Quarles. "It's good to be in a game catching some balls and hitting some people. It's been fun." And for Bill Snyder, it's been fun to have No. 89 back in the lineup, but he still has work to do. "I think he is coming back, but I don't think he's quite there yet." Quarles, a 5-foot-11, 202-pound native of Aurora, Colo., has had a career of not being quite there yet. After catching 34 passes for 407 yards and a touchdown in 2008, Quarles had a hip injury last year that left him as a spectator in 2009. Giving a reflective chuckle, Quarles, a transfer from Santa Rosa Junior College, said, "My career has been one of missing seasons. I struggled in high school with my grades in my senior year, so I played in just seven out of 13 games, and I had an injury my sophomore year in junior college and couldn't play. It's just real hard to watch a game from a distance ... watching your brothers go through blood, sweat and tears and not be a part of it." What does a player like Quarles miss the most when not playing the game? "It's just the chance to give it your all and the having fun with your brothers," said Quarles. "That game out there between the white lines is a game that we all love." Quarles was tabbed the No. 5 overall prospect in Colorado in his abbreviated senior season at Grandview High School when he had 906 receiving yards. That came after a junior season of 30 receptions for 572 yards and a stellar sophomore season of 61 catches for 1,041 yards and five touchdowns when he was named first team all-state. At Santa Rosa, recruiting services listed Quarles as a four-star talent and one of the top 20 junior-college players in the country. As a freshman, he caught 67 passes for 1,054 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he added 28 receptions for 363 yards through four games as a sophomore before breaking his collar bone and missing the rest of the season. Debuting at K-State in 2008, Quarles enjoyed a 34-catch season, which included a single-game high of nabbing nine passes for 102 yards against Texas A&M in a 44-30 Wildcat victory. Now as a senior, Quarles is among a brand new receiving cast that is taking the place of Brandon Banks, Attrail Snipes and Lamark Brown, who caught a collective 102 balls in last year's 6-6 campaign. "It's definitely a new group of receivers, but I feel that we all bond together and are ready for a great season," said Quarles. "People say there are only five or six catches coming back from the wide receiver position, but that was last year. We've worked hard this summer in connecting with the quarterbacks and bettering our relationship and chemistry." Of himself, Quarles said, "I feel that I have a great set of hands and I run good routes. I'm not afraid to go across the middle and catch the ball. That's what I can bring to the table." While he enjoys catching passes the most, Quarles says of himself and the rest of the wide receivers, "We're also responsible for going down field and making blocks. When you have a guy like Daniel (Thomas) or William (Powell) in the backfield with those big-play capabilities, you don't want to be the one down field that doesn't make the block and have your guy make the tackle." Overall, Quarles said of the offensive team, "We have a good bond and are ready for a great season." QUARLES TALKS RECEIVERS On 6-2, 206-pound Brodrick Smith, Quarles said, "Brodrick is a big body ... a big target to throw the ball to. He has pretty nice speed and good hands as well." Of 6-1, 234-pound Chris Harper, "He is really smart coming from the quarterback position. He is just an athlete out there. He's another big body to throw the ball to." And of 5-7, 164-pound Tramaine Thompson, Quarles said, "He's our fastest receiver, and like the rest of us, we have good hands." To date, Smith has nine catches for 113 yards and three touchdowns, Quarles has eight snags for 95 yards and a score, Thompson five nabs for 40 yards and Harper three for 37 yards. We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at email@example.com.